We hear it over and over.  “It’s important to have a personal devotional time,” “Read yourbible  Bible daily,” “God calls us to study scripture and know it,” and so on.  But let’s be real.  Who has time to sit down and study anything?  Reading the Bible is hard enough, but to actually find time to study it seems impractical with all the other things you have to do in a day.  And memorizing scripture?  Now that’s just impossible!  

The truth is, studying scripture is imperative to your spiritual health and necessary if you want to grow as a Christian.  But how?  Here are 5 practical ways to improve your time in God’s word.  

1. Set your alarm.

Whether it’s first thing in the morning or as soon as you walk in the door after work, dedicate the same time of the day every day to sit down and study.  Whatever time you pick, set the alarm on your phone for 30 minutes, sit your phone in the other room, and focus.  You won’t have to look at a clock every few minutes to see what time it is, because the alarm is set.  Your phone is in the other room, so you won’t be distracted by social media either.  It’s just you, God, and His word.

2. Use note cards.

My favorite way to memorize scripture is using note cards.  Write in big letters a scripture that you love on a card, tape it to your bathroom mirror, and read it every morning as you get ready and every night before bed.  Give yourself a month, and I bet you will have it memorized.  Store your memorized note cards in a small picture album to go back to every once in awhile for a reminder.  In a year, you’ll know at least 12 more scriptures!

3. Read chronologically.

I love reading the Bible in order for two reasons.  Instead of picking up your Bible and not knowing where to start, you have a plan.  Also, all those stories you’ve learned about since childhood make more and more sense and all fit into one seamless story in order from beginning to end.  I suggest reading the Bible in a year.  Most plans aren’t overly-intimidating and can be read in less than 30 minutes, giving you time to go back and study and pray over it.  Go here for some examples: http://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-reading-plan/chronological.html, https://www.blueletterbible.org/dailyreading/pdf/1yr_chronologicalplan.pdf.

4. Underline and highlight.

Underlining scriptures that stand out to me is something I’ve been doing a long time.  One of my favorite things to do is flip through my Bible and read the scriptures I’ve marked over the years.  Highlighting works the same way, so it’s up to you and your preference.  Either way, the Bible is there for us to learn, grow from, and study.  So write and mark it when you find things you like.  You’ll love going back to see what stood out to you from time to time.

5. Pray.

Maybe you have no desire to read the Bible or study it.  Maybe you aren’t a morning person, and at night you just want to come home and relax, not THINK or STUDY.  Then pray.  Pray for God to give you the desire, to convict your heart, to give you the energy, to give you the discipline to make it a habit in your life.  And pray for the Holy Spirit to help you understand what you read.  The Holy Spirit can help the Bible come to life for us, to speak to us, to convict us, to comfort us.  

The reason we hear, “Read your Bible” all the time is because it’s the truth.  It’s what we are called to do as Christians.  Take a minute to evaluate your devotion lifestyle.  Are you giving it the time and consistency it needs?  Let’s study and grow, friends.  Grow, mature, and be ready to take the Word of God out into a world that needs the truth more than ever before.